15 Steam Next Fest demos that you shouldn't skip

Lies of P screenshot showing combat with woodland creature
(Image credit: Neowiz)

Discovering the best Steam Next Fest games can be easier said than done. Valve's celebration of upcoming PC games is a fantastic opportunity to sample some of the best and brightest on the near horizon, but with hundreds of demos available it's difficult to know where you should focus your valuable time and bandwidth. Worry not, because we're here to help. 

Next Fest kicked off on June 19 and will conclude on Monday, June 26. That means there's still time for you to play as many free demos as you can manage, watch developer livestreams, and get your favorite games added to a wishlist to be notified when each releases. While it will likely take a little time before the big breakouts of Steam Next Fest emerge, there are a handful of participating titles that GamesRadar+ has been keeping a close eye on for some time now.

With that in mind, below you'll find our pick of the best Steam NextFext demos that we believe you need to try before the celebration draws to an end. If one of these grabs your attention, all you need to do is click the relevant link to be taken to the game's official Steam page, look for the green-colored 'demo' box, and hit the download button to get started.  

Lies of P

Lies of P screenshot

(Image credit: Steam Next Fest)

Developer: Neowiz 
Release date: September 19, 2023

Lies of P is one of the biggest breakouts of the year. Developer Neowiz released a demo for this new Soulslike after Summer Game Fest – an opportunity that attracted over one million downloads and counting. The opportunity to play has been extended through Steam Next Fest, so you still have a little time to try this challenging action-adventure which charts Pinocchio's attempt to locate his creator, Mister Geppetto, in the darkly elegant city of Krat.

The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood

The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood screenshot

(Image credit: Devolver Digital)

Developer: Deconstructeam
Release date: TBC 2023

We were treated to an early look at The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood in April and were immediately taken aback by its evocative artstyle, spiritual setting, and thought-provoking narrative themes. As a fortune-teller Witch living in exile, you'll need to craft your own tarot deck and use it to commune with dark forces, all in an attempt to shape the fate of the cosmic Witch society and regain your freedom. This narrative-adventure from Devolver Digital is worth your time.

Wargroove 2

Wargroove 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Chucklefish)

Developer: Chucklefish 
Release date: TBC

Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp released earlier this year, leaving developer Chucklefish in an interesting position. Where the original Wargroove was a love letter to a long-dormant turn-based strategy series, its sequel arrives in an environment where Nintendo is back leading the charge. But with a more vibrant art style, a new set of commanders, and more complex battlegrounds to dominate, Wargroove 2 is set to offer some compelling competition.  


Viewfinder screenshot

(Image credit: Sad Owl Studios)

Developer: Sad Owl Studios
Release date: July 18, 2023

Viewfinder is one of the most conceptually compelling upcoming indie games of the year. It's a stunning blurring of the lines between Portal and What Remains of Edith Finch where you're able to challenge perception and redefine reality around you with the flash of an instant camera. Admittedly, Viewfinder isn't the easiest video game to explain because of its experimental design, although it's one of those titles that the GamesRadar+ team can't stop talking about. 

Laika: Aged Through Blood

Laika: Aged Through Blood screenshot

(Image credit: Thunderful Publishing)

Developer: Brainwash Gang
Release date: TBC

Laika: Aged Through Blood was re-revealed at the Future Games Show and I have to admit, I was immediately taken in by its style. With its vibrant and evocative hand-drawn world, I see a western-inspired Metroidvania that I'm eager to get lost in. Especially as the setup is pretty out there, with Laika resembling a mashup of Dead Cells, Rollerdrome, and Trials. Give it a go for yourself, try to not be disappointed by the lack of a confirmed release date.


Warhaven screenshot

(Image credit: Nexon)

Developer: Nexon
Release date: Q3 2023

I'm pretty happy to see a Warhaven demo arrive as part of Steam Next Fest. It's one of those games which will live or die by the way that it handles, with the PvP-focused fantasy combat game arriving in a challenging free-to-play environment. You'll have the opportunity to experience it for yourself this week, diving into the 32-player action (split across two teams) as you take control of powerful weapons and smart traversal tools to get one over on your enemies. 

Sea of Stars

Sea of Stars screenshot

(Image credit: Sabotage Studio)

Developer: Sabotage Studio
Release date: August 29, 2023

Sea of Stars is speaking to the really specific part of my millennial brain that has fond memories of playing Golden Sun on Game Boy Advance into the early hours. Maybe it's the tight turn-based combat inspired by the genre classics, the wide focus on exploring a vibrant pixel-art world, or the absolutely enchanting soundtrack – whatever it is, I'm all in. I'd recommend giving Sea of Stars a try while you can; this adventure could break big when it launches in August

The Invincible 

The Invincible screenshot

(Image credit: 11 Bit Studios)

Developer: Starward Industries
Release date: 2023

I won't lie – it was looking like Starfield may have a stranglehold on science-fiction adventure this year. But every time I see The Invincible in action I'm reminded that the genre has so much more to give. This demo will introduce you to the planet of Regis III and its truly stunning horizons, and a small taste of the science-driven philosophical story that underpins this weird, ambitious, and experimental first-person adventure. 

Goodbye Volcano High

Goodbye Volcano High screenshot

(Image credit: KO_OP)

Developer: KO_OP
Release date: August 29, 2023

You now have the opportunity to play Goodbye Volcano High, a narrative adventure that's steadily gathering a lot of buzz around it. Developer KO_OP was recently awarded the Tribeca Games Award on the strength of its recent showing, so it's well worth diving into this beautifully cinematic experience. Exploring the end of an era, as a group of friends tries to make the most of their final year of high school, Goodbye Volcano High has a lot of potential. 

Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical

Stray Gods screenshot

(Image credit: Summerfall Studios)

Developer: Summerfall Studios
Release date: august 3, 2023

I have a lot of time for video games that attempt to do something different, and Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical is certainly doing something different. Written by former BioWare narrative designer David Gaider, Stray Gods combines Greek mythology, contemporary musical theater, and the interaction inherent to the video game medium to create something that truly has to be played to be appreciated. A fun idea that you should give some time to. 

Broken Roads

Broken Roads

(Image credit: Drop Bear Bytes)

Developer: Drop Bear Bytes
Release date: TBC

Broken Roads is one of those games where a demo can really only scratch the surface of what is possible. That's because this narrative-driven RPG is absolutely massive in scope and size, bringing focus to meaningful philosophical choices and exploration of a beautiful Australian post-apocalyptic setting. Broken Roads appears to be a little ways away, so this free demo may be your last chance to experience this strategic RPG for a little while. 

House Flipper 2

House Flipper 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Frozen District)

Developer: Frozen District
Release date: 2023

House Flipping just got… flippier? House Flipper 2 just got its first demo showcasing all the new features you should expect with the upcoming sequel. All the old tools are back, like your trusty paint roller and hammer, but there's new mechanics and visuals to spruce the game up just as much as the houses you'll be flipping. Plus, there's up to 1.5 hours of gameplay in the demo, where you'll make over a house on an island in the middle of the ocean. 


Venba screenshot

(Image credit: Visai Games)

Developer: Visai Games
Release date: July 31, 2023

Venba's demo might be short and sweet, but it's an excellent chance at getting a flavor of what this 'narrative cooking' game will deliver when it launches next month. You play as an Indian immigrant - the titular Venba - who's moved to Canada with her husband in the 1980s. This is a slice from early in the game, and it'll task you with making a relatively simple dish, albeit with a few smudges in the recipe book that you'll have to work out for yourself. 

Paleo Pines

Paleo Pines screenshot

(Image credit: Italic Pig)

Developer: Italic Pig
Release date: September 26, 2023

Paleo Pines is a farming sim with dinosaurs. I mean, do you even need to know more? Set on an idyllic island you'll build your own ranch / dinosaur sanctuary where your prehistoric reptiles will become your farmhands. You'll also meet a wonderful cast of local humans alongside all those scales, with a quirky narrative based on science and silliness in equal measure.

Big Kitty Little City

Big Kitty Little City screenshot

(Image credit: Double Dagger studio)

Developer: Double Dagger Studio
Release date: 2024

You don't have to guess what Little Kitty Big City is all about. Every clue you need is in that title. You're just a little black cat trying to get home, but on the way you're going to use the city as your playground. Steal things, mess with everything, make messes, and wear ridiculous hats. You can even make friends with other animals. It's like Stray, but with a focus on the silly rather than sci-fi.

Josh West
Editor-in-Chief, GamesRadar+

Josh West is the Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar+. He has over 15 years experience in online and print journalism, and holds a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Feature Writing. Prior to starting his current position, Josh has served as GR+'s Features Editor and Deputy Editor of games™ magazine, and has freelanced for numerous publications including 3D Artist, Edge magazine, iCreate, Metal Hammer, Play, Retro Gamer, and SFX. Additionally, he has appeared on the BBC and ITV to provide expert comment, written for Scholastic books, edited a book for Hachette, and worked as the Assistant Producer of the Future Games Show. In his spare time, Josh likes to play bass guitar and video games. Years ago, he was in a few movies and TV shows that you've definitely seen but will never be able to spot him in.

With contributions from